“Impact of Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) on the Geo-economics of the Indian Ocean Region (IOR): Prospects for Pakistan, the Region and Beyond”

07 May, 2018

National Institute of Maritime Affairs (NIMA), Bahria University Islamabad organized a day- long International Maritime Symposium on 7 May 2018 at Islamabad under the theme “Impact of Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) on the Geo-economics of the Indian Ocean Region (IOR): Prospects for Pakistan, the Region and Beyond.” Reputed national and international speakers, key diplomats, academicians, civil society and media representatives and other relevant stakeholders participated in the event. Prime Minister of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Mr. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi graced the occasion as chief guest in inaugural session together with the presence of Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi NI(M).

After the National Anthem and recitation from Holy Quran, the formal symposium proceedings were declared open by the Prime Minister and Inaugural Address was made by Chief of the Naval Staff. President AJK Ambassador Sardar Masood Khan delivered key-note speech whereas eminent Chinese Professor Dr. Tang Mengshen, Director Center for Pakistan Studies, Peking University, China made a special speech in the session. The National Security Advisor Lt. General (R) Nasser Khan Janjua, Rector Bahria University Vice Admiral (R) Muhammad Shafiq HI(M) and Director General IMA Rear Admiral (R) Mukhtar Khan HI(M) were also present on the stage.

During technical sessions, national and foreign experts were of view that the BRI coupled with interests of regional and extra regional actors’ is the major factor affecting the future of IOR. Geo-economics of BRI was discussed, debated and concluded with a set ofconcrete recommendations for Government of Pakistan and relevant stakeholders. The recommendations were presented by Director General IMA in the closing session chaired by Federal Defence Minister Khurram Dastagir Khan.

Prof. Dr. Pengfei Zhang, Master Mariner, Senior Lecturer in law and finance at School of Maritime Science and Engineering, SSU, UK; Dr. Ying Liu from China; Dr. Stanley B. Weeks, Former Instructor at US Naval War College and Dr. Bahador Aminian Jazi from Iran were prominent foreign speakers in different sessions of the symposium. Whereas, President Azad Jammu & Kashmir Sardar Masood Khan; Vice Admiral (Retd) Iftikhar Ahmed Rao HI(M); Mr. Kamran Nasir, CEO JS Global, Pakistan.

Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal from Quaid-e-Azam University; Dr. Rizwana Abbasi, Associate Professor, International Relations, National Defence University; Mr. Imtiaz Gul, Chairman, Centre for Research and Security Studies (CRSS), Islamabad and Lt. Gen (R) Nasser Khan Janjua HI(M), the National Security Advisor (NSA) were key national speakers who shared their thoughts on the theme of the symposium. As a whole, the symposium helped in understanding the emerging trends in the region and potential implications of the BRI at national as well as regional level. It is opined that the regular conduct of such symposia will not only bring out the economic and security prospects of the BRI for Pakistan, but also serve a national platform to enhance the maritime awareness, particularly about the emerging trends in the Indian Ocean Region.

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